Ideas for Home
At Coalway Early Years we use a technique known as 'Story-Making' to help children acquire the skills they will need later on for writing stories. We use a simple, repetitive text and re-visit the story in many exciting and stimulating ways to help the children learn about story settings, characters and sequences, and to help them build up a repertoire of stories they will forever know by heart! We focus on a story for a period of about four to six weeks, and use the following techniques:
Reading the story
Recalling the story from pictures
Creating a pictorial 'story map' to help the children simplify the narrative
Retelling the story through role-play and props
Introducing the children's 'innovations' - this means maintaining the basic context and sequence of the story but changing a few key elements such as the characters or setting (see below for ideas)
For our pre-school children, traditional tales work really well for 'Story-Making' and this term we have used the story 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff'. Here, the children are using props to act out the story when they can confidently recall it from memory. Later, we may encourage the children to innovate some of their own ideas into the narrative, for example we may change the goats to bears, the troll to a dragon, or the bridge setting to a tunnel - it is important that not too much is changed and that the main context and sequence of the story stays the same to avoid the children becoming confused. This technique helps to support them with imaginative writing later in their education as they can call upon story patterns they have learned as well as being able to have their own ideas.
You could try this technique at home with some of your child's own stories, provided they are fairly short, simple and repetitive. Some ideas that work well include 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt', 'Handa's Surprise', 'The Gruffalo' and most of the traditional tales! If you don't have the props available you could draw pictures and cut them out. Try making a simple story map by drawing the key events in the story and linking them with arrows, then retell a simpler version of the story from your 'map' (this works well with stories such as 'The Gruffalo' which can be a bit 'wordy'! Make sure you retain the key elements, and follow the correct sequence of the story).